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August 12, 2006

Your academic-journal dollars at work

Having now returned from a relaxing and rejuvenating trip to a remote (read: no Internet) beach with my family, I am trying to catch up on where the world has moved since I last checked. Comfortably, it's still in one piece, although I'm not thrilled about the latest draconian attempts to scare people into feeling safe about flying in airplanes. Amazingly, only half of the 300 emails I received were spam, and what remained were relatively quickly dispatched. In catching up on science news, I find a new movement afoot to stop Elsevier - the ruthless, and notoriously over-priced, academic publishing house - from organizing arms fairs via one of its subsidiaries. Having recently watched the excellent documentary Why We Fight, on the modern military-industrial complex, this makes me a little concerned.

I've only refereed once for any Elsevier journal, and I now plan to never referee for any of them again. This idea is, apparently, not uncommon among other scientists, e.g., here, here and here. Charging exorbitant prices to under-funded academics who produce and vet the very same content being sold is one thing - exploitative, yes; deadly, no - but arms fairs are a whole different kind of serious. Idiolect is running a petition against this behavior.

Update, Aug. 24: Digging around on YouTube, I found this interview with Eugene Jarecki, the director of Why We Fight.

posted August 12, 2006 09:19 PM in Simply Academic | permalink